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HP this week confirmed that there's no turning back with its 'bet the company on Itanium' strategy as both its NonStop and PA-RISC server lines went in the direction of Intel's 64-bit chip.

HP has outfitted its NonStop servers with Intel's third-generation Itanium processor code-named Itanium. The new chips replace the MIPS processors that powered the NonStop kit for years and years, dating back to Compaq and Tandem days. The NonStop systems have a top-notch reputation and are used by many of the world's stock markets and other financial institutions that can't afford any server failures.

The HP Integrity NonStop NS16000 server runs on 1.5GHz Itanics and can be combined to form up to a 4,080 processor system. (More information on the new NonStops is available here.)

Also on the road to Itanium, HP has released its last version of the PA-RISC processor in the form of the PA-8900. This dual-core chip gives customers about a 15 per cent boost over the PA-8800. The new chip tops out at 1.1GHz - a minor, minor edge over the 1.0GHz 8800. It does, however, have double the cache at 64MB.

HP has struggled to move as many PA-RISC customers over to Itanic as hoped. Competitors IBM and Sun Microsystems have managed to poach customers, while HP has seen members of its own flock leave RISC for x86 chips. It is now do or die time for the PA-RISC crowd with the PA-8900 being the last rev of the processor to arrive from HP.

As promised long ago, HP has now centered all of its high-end server lines around Itanic.

Away from the high-end hardware, HP this week also spiced up its server software and thin client product lines.

It put out Version 5.0 of Systems Insight Manager (SIM) - an update that allows HP's complete server and storage lines to be managed from the same package. "HP SIM 5.0 delivers fault monitoring, inventory reporting and configuration management for HP ProLiant, HP Integrity and HP 9000 systems, and now the HP StorageWorks XP, EVA and MSA families of storage arrays," HP said. "HP Integrity NonStop systems can also now be managed by SIM."

HP also revealed that it's finalizing a new version of its HP-UX operating system that will include vPar (virtual partition) support for its Itanium-based systems. This update should be available in July.

On the thin client side, HP customers will now find three new models - the HP Compaq t5125, HP Compaq t5520 and HP Compaq t5525. All of the systems start at $239. HP will ship the t5520 and t5525 units with a processor from Via instead of Transmeta's Crusoe chip, which had been used in all of HP's previous thin clients.®

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